Healthcare News

The Minister of Economy of the Syrian Interim Government, AbdulHakim Al-Masri, delves into the most pressing issues facing the areas under SIG control and offers an insight into the SIG’s organisational structure and the economic activity in the region.
The Autonomous Administration in Northeast Syria has announced advancements in the establishment of an industrial city in Manbij that will host 610 shops and workshops on 430,000 square metres. Construction works started in 2023 and the project is bound to be completed in 2025.
Damascus is considering further privatising the public healthcare system, a move that might lighten the budget burden of the Ministry of Health but will severely impact the lives of Syrians that depend on free medical services in public hospitals and primary healthcare centres. The Ministry of Health has begun the procedures to transform all public hospitals into entities with administrative and financial independence and has also taken steps to “explore” a public-private partnership model for the management of medical facilities.
In this interview, Dan Stoenescu, head of the European Union Delegation to Syria, delves into the current state of affairs in Syria, including the E.U.’s sanctions policy, the Arab normalisation process, European trade with Syria, the uptick in regional tensions, and captagon drug trafficking.
This interview is part of our series of in-depth interviews with some of Syria's main humanitarian and development actors. In this issue, we talked with Karim El-Rawy, Médecins Sans Frontières' field coordinator in Idlib, and Elizabeth Harding, MSF's Head of Mission in northeast Syria. 
Syria and Russia have signed an agreement to strengthen economic cooperation and bolster joint investments. On October 28 and 29, the Joint Syrian-Russian Intergovernmental Committee for Scientific, Technical, Commercial, and Economic Cooperation met in Moscow to ink the deal focusing on infrastructure development (including transportation and public works) and the agricultural, industrial, and pharmaceutical sectors.
As the cholera endemic continues unabated, the Ministry of Health recently received two million cholera vaccine doses – the first to reach the country since the outbreak was declared in September.
Since the beginning of the year, hundreds of state employees across various sectors – from agriculture, water, and industry to education and healthcare – have resigned or submitted their resignations due to exorbitant transportation costs, meagre wages, and better opportunities in the private sector or abroad. Consequently, the government has taken several measures to tackle the problem of labour shortages in the country. 
The following is an interview conducted by The Syria Report with John Bell, the managing director of Gulfsands Petroleum, a London-based oil and gas company that is the operator and joint-owner of Block 26 in northeast Syria. Among other things, this interview sheds light on sanctions, the potential production and revenues of Block 26, and illegal production by SDF and its affiliated oil companies. It also reveals how early recovery has become an increasingly prevalent framework through which companies and organisations re-frame their activities in Syria in an effort to be exempted from sanctions.
Opposition and pro-regime media outlets are reporting that the government is planning to impose public school registration fees for the first time and significantly raise public healthcare fees. The Ministries of Education and Health are reportedly unable to afford the costs of their respective sectors amid the worsening economic crisis.
As the number of positive COVID-19 cases surged across Syria in February, several health agencies in northern Syria have confirmed the spread of the Omicron variant amid a slow vaccination drive across the country. Meanwhile, Syria launches a vaccination campaign using the first shipment of Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccines.
Last year, the total number of COVID-19 cases in all of Syria increased by 354 percent compared with 2020, while only a fraction of the population has been fully or partially vaccinated, according to the World Health Organisation. Meanwhile, Syria’s vaccination rate remains one of the lowest in the region.
Funding coverage for Syria’s Humanitarian Response Plan in 2021 has reached a historic low, failing to keep pace with the growing number of people classified in need in Syria amid the country’s worsening socioeconomic situation, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’s 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview.